The South Carolina House and Senate overrode Gov. Mark Sanford's 11th hour veto of a bill requiring health insurance coverage for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The bill, “Ryan's Law”, previously passed by both the House and Senate, was vetoed on June 6, 2007 by the Governor, and was brought back to the floor on June 7, where the House and Senate voted unanimously to override the veto.
The South Carolina autism insurance initiative will require insurance companies in the state to provide medical coverage for persons who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by age eight, with continuing coverage through sixteen years of age for treatments prescribed by a medical doctor. Included is coverage for behavioral therapy up to $50,000 a year. This bill is a compromise bill on which the South Carolina autism community and the South Carolina insurance industry have agreed. This is one of the most extensive autism insurance mandates in the country to date.
The effort to pass this bill was directed largely by a group of dedicated parents in South Carolina led by Lorri Unumb, along with Marcella Ridley, Lisa Rollins and Derrick Howle.
“Thank you to all the parents of South Carolina for writing letters, visiting legislators, and calling to help pass this bill,” Unumb said. “Each and every person who picked up the phone or sent an email truly made a difference.”
The bill's name, Ryan's Law, is in honor of Unumb's six year old son.